AFF is led by passionate and talented young people in cities across the country. Chapter leaders and board members put on unique and fun programs that allow their peers to learn the ideas of liberty and network with like-minded friends.
Click here to learn how you can become an AFF leader.
Robert "Burly" Cain, AFF Albuquerque
Robert Duncan Cain II is a liberty-minded entrepreneur, consultant, and social change strategist. He goes by the nickname "Burly," given to him by his grandfather at birth. He provides consulting services to his clients through his company Vis Vires, LLC. He began working on best practices to achieve liberty minded social change while working as a trader in the global financial markets. Burly received a degree in Economics from the University of New Mexico with honors. Burly served as the Digital Director for the Gary Johnson Presidential Campaign where he and his staff built the largest third party campaign in US history in 4 months. He served as the Deputy Director of Policy for the 2015 New Mexico House of Representatives. He was a candidate for House District 17 in New Mexico in 2012. He helped found APS/UNM Backpacks for Kids, an annual event to provide school supplies to impoverished children. He currently resides in Albuquerque, with his fiancée Bri and his three dogs.
He writes, "America's Future Foundation Albuquerque provides conservatives and libertarians a local monthly liberty networking event where they can hear from local and international experts and speakers, connect with like-minded individuals, and join the fastest growing liberty network in New Mexico."
Jen Maffessanti, AFF Atlanta
Jen Maffessanti serves as the chairwoman for the Atlanta chapter of America's Future Foundation. Her passion for liberty began in high school, but became much more focused on action when her sons were born. Yes, they're twins. She’s excited and honored to be working with such an esteemed and supportive organization in AFF and says it's deeply gratifying to work with people who truly "get it."
She reports, “America's Future Foundation fills such a crucial role in the liberty movement. The student organizations that work on high school and college campuses are fantastic, but many people find a distinct lack of support structure after graduation. AFF fills that gap for liberty-minded individuals after graduation and as they enter the professional world. Building a strong network of like-minded friends is so vital, especially for those interested in pursuing a career in liberty, and AFF helps make that happen.”
Ellen Bartling, AFF Austin
Ellen Bartling is a multi-platform UX/UI designer and software developer at Emergent Order a mission-driven creative agency in Austin, where she helps clients in the free-market space tell great stories through design, branding & digital experiences. Before joining EO, she was part of the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s communications team, where she kick-started and built their media tracking & analytics program, and where she first became involved with America’s Future Foundation.
Ellen notes, “AFF’s approach to spreading liberty is unique and unquestionably effective. Instead of asking, ‘how can we talk to millennials about liberty?’ they empower pro-liberty millennials like me to talk to our peers, organize events that align with our interests, and create powerful social and professional networks in Austin and cities across the country."
Mariella Rutigliano, AFF Boston
Mariella Rutigliano is a native New Yorker living in Boston, where she attends Boston College and studies political science and economics. Mariella is the President of the College Republicans and has experience interning for the House Foreign Affairs Committee for the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Non-Proliferation and Trade. She hopes to return to Washington soon. Mariella is a 2016 graduate of the Koch Internship Program and she is a public policy intern at the Pioneer Institute, a Boston-based think tank. In her free time Mariella enjoys taking pictures and traveling.
“AFF-Boston is a professional development network for individuals who believe in the power of personal liberty, entrepreneurship, and innovation. We believe that positive social change results when these values are upheld in the free market. Through social events, speakers and workshops we hope to bring liberty-minded individuals together with the goals of career development, networking and discourse.”
Eric Kohn, AFF Chicago
Eric Kohn is marketing manager at the Illinois Policy Institute. In that role, he works to facilitate conversation, increase engagement, and drive advocacy within the Institute’s digital community. Prior to joining the Institute, Eric was founder and CEO of Curious Task Strategies, a public affairs consulting firm. Eric is also a board member of the Institute to Reduce Spending. He previously hosted The Eric Kohn Program on 1530-AM WJJG, and has guest-hosted the nationally syndicated The Guy Benson Show and Illinois Watchdog Radio on Cities 92.9FM in Bloomington-Normal. He has appeared as a commentator on Extension 720 with Milt Rosenberg, The Michael Koolidge Show, WTTW’s Chicago Tonight, and numerous news broadcasts in the Chicagoland area. Eric’s writings have appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times, the Belleville News-Democrat, the Madison/St. Clair Record, and other publications. Eric grew up in Belleville, Ill., and is a graduate of Millikin University in Decatur, Ill.
Esther Bardo, AFF Columbus
Esther Bardo is the Manager of Foundation Relations at The Buckeye Institute. Bardo holds a Master’s degree in Information Science from Kent State University. She is also a graduate of Malone University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Psychology, participated in the Canadian Parliamentary Internship program, and was awarded the Outstanding Political Science graduate.
She writes, "I appreciate AFF's mission to not only advance liberty, free enterprise and personal responsibility, but their commitment to advancing the careers and professional development of America's future leaders. Through local chapter events, mentorships, and fellowships, young professionals are given opportunities to bolster career skills and connect with leaders in the movement. Building skilled liberty leaders throughout the country via local chapters creates the necessary momentum to further the freedom movement.”
Meg Tuszynski, AFF Dallas
Meg Tuszynski is a research associate for the State and Local Policy Project at the O’Neil Center for Global Markets and Freedom, located on the Southern Methodist University campus. Before joining the O’Neil Center, Meg was the program manager for the Spending and Budget Initiative at the Mercatus Center. Meg received her PhD in economics from George Mason University in the fall of 2016. Her dissertation focused on the problematic incentives built into public aid programs, and the role ideas have played in the expansion of the welfare state. She earned her MA in economics at George Mason in 2015, and a dual BA in philosophy and economics from the same school in 2011. Her research interests include Austrian economics, Public Choice, New Institutional economics, and economic freedom.
“Before moving to Dallas, I spent nine years living in the DC area – where opportunities to connect with fellow liberty lovers were omnipresent. Upon relocating here, I was overjoyed to find that there was a vibrant liberty crowd in the area. AFF has an important role to play here in connecting like-minded individuals to both one another, and to opportunities in the area.”
Heather Pfitzenmaier, AFF Detroit
Heather Pfitzenmaier is AFF's full-time Vice President and leader of the Detroit chapter. She oversees AFF's programs nationwide. Pfitzenmaier previously served as Director of the Young Leaders Program, and earlier as Intern Coordinator, at the Heritage Foundation from 2007-2015. There she oversaw Heritage’s efforts to reach young people including the internship program, campus outreach, and events for young professionals. She is the recipient of the Young Conservatives Coalition Buckley Award, Forbes magazine “30 Under 30” in law and policy, and “30 Under 30″ by Red Alert Politics. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English and Political Science from the University of Michigan and is based in southeast Michigan.
She reports, “Launching and leading the Detroit chapter has been an incredible experience to bring together liberty-loving young professionals from across our great state. Without your support, we wouldn’t be able to make the impact we have – and hope to continue to do so – in our community where liberty-minded young people come together to learn ideas and skills, but also improve Michigan by offering long-term free market solutions."
Laurel Buckley, AFF Grand Rapids
Laurel Buckley is the Chapter Leader for the newly formed Grand Rapids AFF Chapter. She first became an AFF member in 2011in Washington D.C. and has been involved ever since, participating in the AFF Ambassador Program and coordinating the inaugural AFF Development Course. She currently serves as the Director of Development at the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Previously, she served as the Development Manager for the American Spectator Foundation. Laurel holds a master’s degree in political management from George Washington University.
“I first started attending AFF in Washington D.C. because a friend was involved and encouraged me to go. I stayed because I liked the professional development opportunities, specifically the cultivation crew lunches and lunch with a leader. When I moved away from D.C. it seemed like a natural fit to help launch an AFF chapter here. I missed the networking opportunities and policy discussions. I’m glad I can continue with those benefits outside Capitol Hill.”
Noelle Mandell, AFF Houston
Noelle Mandell has worked tirelessly over the years to promote the ideas of social and economic freedom. She is particularly passionate about achieving a freer Texas, thus she co-founded the Texas Millennial Institute (TMI) and serves as the CEO. In addition to her involvement in TMI, Noelle does field work and event planning in Texas with Americans For Prosperity, is the co-director of Deck the Halls, which is an annual parade and toy drive that celebrates diversity in Houston, and serves as the chapter president for America's Future Foundation in Houston. She graduated from the University of Houston with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy.
She told AFF, “Houston is a city chock-full of young professionals who are eager to connect with one another. It’s the perfect climate for an AFF chapter because Houstonians are already inherently interested in these ideas; it’s clear by the lifestyle we live and by virtue of the spirit of the city itself. I’m excited to be pioneering a new chapter of a nation-wide organization with an amazing track record for supporting and empowering individuals. I can now make a bigger on-the-ground impact by creating spaces for like-minded individuals to come together and network for a purpose. It’s a great way to promote a freer society while fostering life-long relationships. “
Chloe Anagnos, AFF Indianapolis
Chloe Anagnos, is a writer and digital marketer. Her work has been the subject of articles on the FOX News, USA Today, CNN Money and WIRED websites and she’s been a contributing writer and political commentator for media outlets around the country. In 2016, she was named as one of Indianapolis’ most promising up and coming young talent in Vol. 9 of Pattern Magazine.
She writes, "The presence of America's Future Foundation is imperative to our community so that we can showcase the power of free markets and liberty in everyday life and how we can take part in preserving it."
Nic Lott, AFF Jackson
Nic Lott is a public servant who was the first African-American student body president elected at the University of Mississippi. The self-described conservative has previously worked under Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, Gov, Haley Barbour, U.S. Congressman J.C. Watts, and has interned in The White House during President George W. Bush's first year. He currently serves in Governor Phil Bryant's Administration as director of special compliance operations for renewal recovery. An alumnus of the US Senate’s African-American Leadership Summit, Lott has received numerous honors including being selected for Who's Who in Black Mississippi, Top 40 Under 40 by the Mississippi Business Journal, VIP Magazine’s “Top 10 Fascinating People” and the Business Chronicle’s “Young Guns: Top Business and Community Leaders.” He appears as a political commentator and guest on multiple outlets including CNN, Fox News, WRBJ, WJSU, and WMPN.
Nic says, “I’m honored to lead an inspiring team of brilliant eager liberty activists. I welcome the opportunity to spread our ideas across the metro area. It's important that we never forget that "freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction." It is a pleasure to be a part of an organization that cultivates young professionals to become advocates for freedom. AFF is committed to the preservation of liberty.”
David Hoyt, AFF Jacksonville
David Hoyt is a fundraising consultant at A.C. Fitzgerald & Associates. His career began with Young Americans for Liberty, where he served as its first-ever Director of Development. His experience spans many fundraising core processes, as he has helped a variety of c3 and c4 organizations design and implement comprehensive development plans. Prior to joining A.C. Fitzgerald & Associates, David served as the Director of Development at America’s Future Foundation. Before his time with AFF, he offered fundraising counsel to several groups including The Leadership Institute, Project Veritas, the Coalition to Reduce Spending, American Majority, the American Family Association of Michigan, Americans for Prosperity, as well as candidates and members of Congress.
David says, "Jacksonville is a fast-growing, young city, and there is a real thirst for liberty and community here. It is an honor and a privilege to help lead the chapter here, bringing people together, growing the movement, and making a difference locally. Nothing like AFF exists in Jacksonville, and we are all very excited to see it grow."
Annie Patnaude, AFF Lansing
Annie Patnaude is Deputy State Director for Americans for Prosperity-Michigan. She has more than 10 years of communications and policy experience. A prolific writer and editor, Annie's writing has been published in news outlets across the country. Her passions include brand development, mentoring others, and smaller and more efficient government.
She quoted, “Young professionals are the future of our country, and it is critically important to educate and inspire them with free market ideas. AFF brings Millennials together at fun and engaging programs, and provides a platform for engagement that can't be found elsewhere.”
Bryson Hotopp, AFF Midland (MI)
Bryson Hotopp is the Senior Web Developer at Bolger and Battle, a marketing communications firm in Midland, MI. He enjoys enabling clients to get their messages in front of the right people. Prior to B+B, Bryson was the founder and CEO of Umbrella Labs, a digital partner which helped small businesses and nonprofits leave 1995 in the past. In his free time, whatever that is, Bryson enjoys drumming for Michigander (listen on Spotify or Apple Music) and working with youth at his church. He also dabbles in electrical engineering, video games, Netflix and world travel.
"The Midland chapter of AFF is well positioned to capitalize on a great network of liberty-minded thought leaders in our region. We have the potential to help the next generation of young professionals engage with our political process. I'm excited for the opportunity to share ideas of liberty that they don't often encounter on a daily basis, and give them a deeper look into how our government operates."
Mary Beth Gahn, AFF Milwaukee
Mary Beth Gahn is a sales professional with a background in retail and wholesale operations, and the nonprofit, fashion, and food manufacturing industries. When she's not selling something, she enjoys policy discussions surrounding a pro-human platform, volunteering for disability rights and awareness, and serving the congregation at her Catholic parish. Gahn also enjoys learning about wine and its cultural influence, cooking for friends, and looking for a good reason to go to the gym before work. She is a magna cum laude alumna of Saint Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri.
She says, "In southeastern Wisconsin, America's Future Foundation augments a passionate grassroots movement of entrepreneurship, personal responsibility and fiscal discipline. It provides us with a link to liberty-minded people in other communities, and a framework for our members to explore policy ideas and promote conservative and libertarian ideals."
Hannah Cox, AFF Nashville
Hannah Cox is the Outreach Coordinator for the Beacon Center of Tennessee. She manages the grassroots arm of the Center, and her role is that of a liaison between the Center and the communities and residents of Tennessee. In her position, Hannah acts as a chief storyteller, managing policy projects and giving a voice to the countless Tennesseans affected by the Center’s work. She finds and crafts the stories of our local heroes and provides them with a platform to speak on economic issues that impact their daily lives. Hannah also oversees the Center’s coalition outreach efforts, working to unite activists throughout the state in common goals. She coordinates all of the Beacon Center’s events in an effort to spread the Center’s principles of individual liberty, limited government, and free markets throughout the state of Tennessee.
She reports, “The Beacon Center is thrilled to partner with AFF as we work to expand our outreach efforts to the politically-minded young adults in our state's capital of Nashville, TN. AFF has done an impeccable job of providing a network of support and growth for millennials across the country. Through their work the seeds of liberty are being planted in the minds of our future generation and our future leaders are being cultivated through the opportunities AFF provides. We are certain that our partnership with AFF for our young professionals society in Tennessee will be of great benefit to both our young adults and our state as a whole.”
Joe Morse, AFF New Orleans
Joseph Morse is an author, entrepreneur, and philosopher. He has written several critically acclaimed novels under the pen name JSB Morse including the political thriller "Gods of Ruin" and the spiritual fiction "Now and at the Hour of Our Death" as well as "Zero to Paleo" and the "Take Advantage" non-fiction series. He is editor of "The Libertarian Catholic" and can be found at jsbmorse.com. He has been with AFF since 2012, first in Austin, then in New Orleans, where he lives with his wife and children. He strong proponent of personal freedom and responsibility and an even stronger proponent of a good bowl of gumbo.
He said, “While New Orleans has a clear libertarian bent, there is no formal movement underway. AFF has been vital in giving a face to the liberty movement and bringing young professionals together who normally would not have joined forces.”
Bob Dick, AFF Philadelphia
Bob Dick is the chairman of AFF's Philadelphia chapter and a senior policy analyst for the Commonwealth Foundation—Pennsylvania's free market think tank. His primary areas of focus are fiscal and labor policy. When not working, Bob enjoys making terrible jokes on Twitter and trying new restaurants.
He says, “America's Future Foundation is critical for helping young people network, learn, and grow as professionals. AFF is uniquely equipped to offer those passionate about liberty the chance to connect with like-minded people in their area. Their efforts will help serve as the building block for the next generation of leaders committed to living in a free society.”
Lydia White, AFF Portland (OR)
Lydia White joined Cascade Policy Institute as a Research Associate in July 2016. She works on a variety of Cascade’s functions, including research, development, and outreach. Lydia previously worked for Rand Paul for President as the finance and events assistant in Washington, D.C. Prior to joining the campaign, she oversaw the southeastern region for Young Americans for Liberty, a libertarian organization for college students. Upon graduating high school, she moved from Ohio to Alabama where she received a degree in Finance from Auburn University. In her spare time, Lydia enjoys reading, baking, and exploring the Pacific Northwest with her dog.
She writes, "America’s Future Foundation provides Portland’s emerging young professionals with a platform to network with liberty minded individuals and engage in constructive discourse. Although the media portrays Portland otherwise, there’s no shortage of free market enthusiasts. A sorely needed outlet in an overwhelmingly liberal city, AFF enables such individuals to connect with their like-minded peers who know that a better future comes from free markets, not big government."
Chris Harelson, AFF Provo (UT)
Chris Harelson is an activist and entrepreneur. A former Field Director for Americans for Prosperity and Chief-of-Staff to a Utah State Senator, Chris has experience in grassroots politics and policy research. Chris found the ideas of liberty through Congressman Ron Paul’s 2012 Presidential Campaign. Soon after he joined Young Americans for Liberty and Students for Liberty, serving as the Utah YAL State Chair and West Coast Regional Director for SFL.
“Building America’s Future Foundation in Utah is key to the success of our state-wide and national movement. With a place for young professional to connect, learn, and build relationships we can expect to have a more engaged movement among young people. I hope our AFF chapter serves as a launch pad for many successful and prominent careers in the liberty movement.”
David Vesely, AFF Pittsburgh
David Vesely first became involved with liberty via the good Dr. Ron Paul, upon hearing his comments during the 2012 election. He has been trying to give back to the Liberty community ever since he moved to Pittsburgh in August of 2013. He is active in local Libertarian politics and has attended and enjoyed AFF events in Pittsburgh - he is excited to lend his talents and drive to a great organization.
He writes, “The social and philosophical side of liberty were secondary concerns to me, initially, but AFF and other people and groups have helped me to see that these issues are opposites of the same coin. We need to help inform people.”
John Bianchi, AFF Raleigh
John Bianchi is a marketing professional, working in Raleigh, North Carolina, for a market research company. He has always had a deep love for the freedom movement and looks to expand the message of AFF and liberty in the coming year. In his spare time, he enjoys playing guitar, golfing and collecting vinyl records.
He writes, “The importance of an organization like AFF is to build the connections between young professionals both among themselves and potential mentors. The Raleigh chapter of AFF seeks to build networking partnerships between likeminded individuals to continue to promote the ideas of liberty. Without a connection between generations, we won’t be able to strengthen and grow our movement. Together we can build a strong network of mentorship and opportunity for young professionals looking to advance their careers and the freedom movement.”
Grant Van Eck, AFF Rhode Island
Grant Alexander Van Eck grew up in New Jersey, where he was active in the liberty movement since his youth. Grant took on leadership roles for liberty at Rutgers University. After moving to Rhode Island, he has worked diligently to build the liberty movement in the Ocean State volunteering for the Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity. Active in his church, Grant is a Lector and Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion and serves as Deputy Grand Knight in his Knights of Columbus Council. He is an Eagle Scout. Grant is a movie buff and his hobbies include hiking, home brewing and shooting sports.
Grant states, “AFF is the right organization to bring individuals in RI together who believe in the constitution, free-markets, property rights, and liberty. RI’s AFF chapter is fun. We are a place where motivated young professionals who understand or want to learn about freedom gather to grow their business, network, share ideas and support their fellow patriots.”
Mike Sertic, AFF Sacramento
Michael Sertic is president of the Advocates for Self-Government. Since his introduction to classical liberal ideas, Sertic has directed his efforts toward a deeper understanding of how to maximize human liberty in America with the goal of promoting social harmony and economic prosperity. He received a degree in economics from California State University, Sacramento, and prior to joining the Advocates he worked at The Foundation for Harmony and Prosperity and the Morning Star Company’s Self-Management Institute. He currently serves as Vice Chair of the Libertarian Party of Sacramento County and as president of America’s Future Foundation’s Sacramento chapter.
“America’s Future Foundation is the premier organization in Sacramento for young professionals to come and exchange ideas on how to promote an economically prosperous and socially harmonious community in a fun and welcoming environment.”
Katie Modesitt, AFF San Francisco
Katie Modesitt is the current Development Manager at the Independent Institute where she fundraises and friend-raises to advance liberty and free societies. Passionate about education reform, she also is a research assistant on education policy and was a 2016-2017 participant in the Koch Liberty@Work program. Before joining the team at Independent, Katie received her BA in History and Political Science from the University of San Diego. In her free time, she enjoys reading, wandering around San Francisco’s art museums, and getting up to the mountains of Lake Tahoe as often as possible.
Katie says, “San Francisco is a place that runs on entrepreneurship, freedom, and innovation. AFF plays a critical role here by providing a place for like-minded young people to network, explore ideas, and grow as professionals.”
Janene Schmitz, AFF Washington, DC
Janene Schmitz is the programs associate at America's Future Foundation, overseeing programs in the Washington, D.C. area. Janene earned a bachelor's degree in economics from James Madison University. Previously, she worked at the Charles Koch Institute, ensuring that their educational program participants had opportunities to work at hundreds of partner organizations around the D.C. area, and across the country. Originally from New Jersey, Janene loves the New York Giants, and a day at the beach. She and her husband live in Alexandria with their baby girl.